Iran’s ambition is to destroy the Saudi state, says Prince Turki Al-Faisal

Prince Turki Al-Faisal, former Saudi ambassador and chief of the General Intelligence Directorate. (AFP)
Updated 21 March 2018

Iran’s ambition is to destroy the Saudi state, says Prince Turki Al-Faisal

WASHINGTON: Iran is a “threat” and aims to destroy the Saudi state, the Kingdom’s former intelligence chief has warned.

Prince Turki Al-Faisal, former Saudi ambassador and chief of the General Intelligence Directorate, said that Iran had boasted about its interference in regional states.

“I don't think they threaten our existence. But definitely, their ambition is to destroy the Saudi state. And this is not new. This is from the time of (the former Supreme Leader of Iran) Khomeini,” Prince Turki told NPR.

Prince Turki pointed to Iran’s alleged interference in regional countries including Iraq, Syria, Lebanon and Yemen.

“Iran has not hesitated to interfere in all of these countries, and they boast about it. It's not something that they hide or that they shy from mentioning ... Their leadership has boasted about controlling four Arab capitals,” he said.

Prince Turki also said that the Iran-backed Houthi militias had tried to take over Yemen by military force.

“The Kingdom responded to the appeal of the legitimate government in Yemen to provide military support to help them push back on this Houthi-cum-Iranian interference in trying to take over in Yemen,” he said.

“Yemen is bordering Saudi Arabia. Imagine if Mexico or Canada had started interfering in the affairs of the United States. What would the reaction of America be? It would be to defend itself. Yes, it is complicated. And yes, we are paying a price for that. But I think it is a justifiable defense of our interests.”

Saudi airports welcome back passengers after two-month hiatus

Updated 10 min 4 sec ago

Saudi airports welcome back passengers after two-month hiatus

  • Social distancing and face masks required in aircraft
  • Two local flights to be added daily to restore capacity 

RIYADH: Saudi Arabia is welcoming the return of aircraft and passengers amid strict precautionary measures to counter the spread of coronavirus.
The General Authority of Civil Aviation (GACA) on Sunday opened 11 of the Kingdom’s 28 airports in a step toward restoring normality to everyday activities.
All flights and means of travel between Saudi cities ground to a halt on March 21.
“The progressive and gradual reopening aims at controlling the crowd inside airports because we want to achieve the highest health efficiency,” GACA spokesman Ibrahim bin Abdullah Alrwosa told Arab News.
He said that two local flights would be added daily until all routes returned to their normal capacity, during which time GACA would increase the capacity of aircrafts as decided by relevant committees. 
GACA has issued a travel guide for passengers, detailing what steps have been taken by authorities to ensure public health and safety and what obligations are on passengers. 
A decision about the return of international flights was up to authorities, he said. 

“I call on all travelers, both Saudis and residents, to read this guide and to look at the information and details in it because the travel decision depends on it,” the spokesman added.
Passengers found to violate any of the terms and conditions will not be allowed to complete the check-in process as per the new travel procedures.
The new terms include the use of e-tickets and passengers will not be allowed to enter airport premises without one. Purchasing tickets inside airport grounds is currently not an option because booking services for airline sales are currently closed.
Wearing a face mask is a prerequisite for airport access and any individual who fails to wear a face mask will be denied entry to the airport.
Passengers under the age of 15 will not be allowed to travel unaccompanied.
The Ministry of Health has set up temperature checkpoints inside the airport and passengers recording a temperature of 38 degrees Celsius or higher will be denied entry in order to ensure their safety and the safety of other passengers.
Social distancing inside the airport has been adopted at entrances, exits, at seating areas and bridges leading to airplanes.
There will be social distancing on the aircraft, with an empty seat between each passenger, according to recommendations from the Ministry of Health, which stipulated that there must be social distancing.
“We want to make airports a safe environment to achieve a safe flight. There is another important issue, which is a well-known social tradition. There are many people at the airport who come to say goodbye to their loved ones or receive them. We will not allow the presence of people who do not have tickets in the airports, in order to ensure the safety of passengers,” said the GACA spokesman.
He said that passenger cooperation and compliance played a key role in the successful restart of flights.
“We rely on citizens and passengers, locals and residents alike, to help us implement preventive measures and to comply with the health rules recommended by the Ministry of Health.”